5 Free Things to Do in Self-Quarantine During COVID-19

April 11, 2020
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, our normal lives have come to a grinding halt. Beyond streaming our go-to TV shows for hours on end, there’s a lot more we can do during this downtime that will help retrain our minds and help us live our life, even beyond this period of quarantine.

So often, when we are looking to grow, change, or shift something in our lives, we are looking outside of ourselves. But, the truth is, everything you need to continue your growth journey is within you—and within arm’s reach. All you need is passion, interest, and a few simple strategies that’ll help you find what works for you. 

Here are some simple things you can do to shift your mindset in order to stimulate growth, without spending a dime.

1. Try cooking a new recipe.

This incredible resource allows you to discover new recipes by listing the ingredients you have in your pantry, fridge, or freezer. If you’re at a loss of what to make, this is a great way to shop what you already have and try something new, too.

Personally, every morning, I come up with some type of frittata using leftover vegetables, protein, and eggs. You can also use frozen veggies if you are trying to clean out your freezer. 

2. Refresh your living space.

Beyond spring cleaning, try changing the layout of your space as well. It sounds simple but reorganizing furniture or décor can provide your brain with a really satisfying sense of change (without spending any money on new pieces.) You would be surprised how much this can act as a refresh during quarantine. 

Now that I’m home a lot more, I’ve rearranged three rooms already. It’s been nice to re-think the space I have and make it feel new again. I have also used this time to clean out my pantries, fridge, and my kids’ play areas. I’ve cleaned out so much, I feel like every room is new.

3. Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read (instead of buying a new one).

Psychologically speaking, we get a rush when making purchases. Buying new things, even when we have something similar at home, gives us temporary satisfaction. We can use this time to work on that, challenging ourselves with a “no buy” mandate (because, well, it’s sort of the only option) and getting enjoyment from actually using things up.

Instead of focusing on the next purchase, we can simultaneously produce less waste, reduce clutter, save money, and shift our mindsets. Books take up a lot of space in our rooms as well as storage. We are reading a lot more these days and are finding books we forgot to start or stories we want to read again. 

4. Learn a new skill.

I don’t suggest putting too much pressure on yourself to be productive during quarantine, but if there’s something you’ve been putting off doing due to a lack of time, now is a good chance to start.

Download Duolingo to work on learning a new language, watch free online videos to help you become more flexible, or bake the bread you’ve been seeing everyone make on Instagram.

For me, this is improving recipes, testing new ones, and adding twists to ones I use today in order to support immunity.

5. Connect (virtually) with your family and friends.

Throw a happy hour via Zoom. Download Houseparty to connect with your friends. FaceTime with your family during dinner. These circumstances make us truly value the people in our lives.

With Marco Polo, you can leave video messages with friends and family. This allows you to connect face-to-face but asynchronously. I’ve been celebrating birthdays over Zoom and scheduling virtual coffee dates and lunch meet-ups with my friends and family.

About the Author: Nora McCaffrey is the Chief Academic Officer at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She oversees all academic components to IIN’s course offerings. Prior to joining IIN, she trained at the Institute for Culinary Education in culinary arts and ran her own catering business in Brooklyn, NY, providing healthy food options for private events, school events, and meal deliveries. 

To support her health focus, she became an IIN health coach and later decided to join the IIN team. In 2017, she obtained a master’s degree in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University. Her experience and education help her to continuously improve and innovate course offerings and learning platforms

Nora is from Brooklyn, NY and now lives with her wife, Helen, and two kids in Maplewood, NJ. As a lifelong foodie, Nora supports local farmers and restaurants to feed her family.  

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